Guyana records 37  per cent decline in workplace fatalities

Guyana has made strides in reducing the number of workplace fatalities, recording a 37 per cent decline in last four years.

However, 2024 has been challenging, recording more deaths than the previous three years.

Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton participates in the Occupational Safety and Health Day walk

In 2020, there were 32 workplace deaths; in 2021, the number deceased to 27 deaths and then in 2022, there were 21 deaths.

20 were recorded in 2023.

Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton, in his message on Occupational Safety and Health Day, stated that the majority of fatalities occur in the mining and construction sectors.

“This situation causes me great concern, and should be the same for our tripartite partners and key stakeholders. Indeed it is quite obvious that we need to act now. Decisive actions need to be taken to prevent workplace accidents and safeguarding well-being of the workers in this beloved country of ours,” Minister Hamilton stated.

Minister Hamiton poses with participants of the walk

This, he said, will require concerted efforts from the government, trade unions and employers’ organisations who need to collaborate closely to develop, implement and maintain comprehensive strategies for safety and health protocols, adequate training the enforcement of safety and health regulations, proper equipment maintenance and fostering culture of safety among all stakeholders.

“Let us rise to the challenges and reduce our efforts to create safer and healthier workplaces for all together we can make a difference and build a future where every worker can go to work and return home safely at the end of the work day or work period,” Minister Hamilton stated.

The Theme for this year’s observance is “Ensuring safe and healthy work now in a changing climate: We are running out of time.”

Minister Hamilton said this year’s theme places emphasis, on the urgency of the situation, and the urgent need to prioritise safety and health in workplaces.

Participants in the Occupational Safety and Health Day walk

“Climate Climate is already having serious impacts on the world of work, and workers particularly at risk are those who work outdoors in physically demanding sectors such as agriculture construction and mining,” he stated.

However, indoor workers in hot and poorly ventilated environments, and other workers are also at risk.

The minister said action needs to be taken now as the consequences of workplace fatalities are profound, resulting not only in the loss of precious lives, but leaving behind devastated families and communities while also disrupting productivity and progress.

Meanwhile, hundreds of persons turned out on Sunday Morning to join the Annual Occupation Safety and Health Day Walk.

Minister Hamilton, while addressing the participants,  noted that the large turnout indicates that the drive for Occupational Safety and Health is gaining momentum.

World Day of Occupation Safety and Health was designated by the International Labour Organisation, to place emphasis on the prevention of accidents and diseases at work.

It also seeks to raise awareness and promote action towards preventing workplace accidents and promoting well-being.

Occupational Safety and Health Month was launched on April 3, 2024.